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The Democratic Republic of Congo home to one of the highest diversity of plantains in Africa

French Horn plantain> Credit: Richard Markam

A series of collecting missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo reveals the extent of the country’s plantain diversity. Plantains are cooking bananas that are a staple food for millions of people in Africa and Latina America.

You can fry, boil, grill, steam or bake them. No matter how you prefer to eat plantains, these cooking bananas are a staple food for millions of people in Africa and Latin America, all-year round. Though originating from the Asia-Pacific region, the diversity of plantains is highest in West and Central Africa.

A series of collecting missions and recent research reveals that the Democratic Republic of Congo hosts 97 cultivars (cultivated varieties), almost doubling the previous estimate of 56 cultivars.

Part of this research was carried out by Joseph Adheka, a PhD student funded by the Belgian Development Cooperation through the Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA), a research-for-development partnership led by Bioversity International, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Find out more about plantain diversity and Joseph’s research in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the ProMusa news section.

Photo: French Horn Plantain
Credit: Richard Markham

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